URI Tour Guides know their way around
KINGSTON, R.I -- April 12, 2005 -- Three times daily you can see them walking across the quadrangle backwards or waving their arms while standing on benches in front of a swarm of visitors. They’re tour guides, the University of Rhode Island’s enthusiastic ambassadors who possess a wealth of Kingston campus knowledge.
Apparently visitors enjoy going on the tours as much as the tour guides like giving them. “Parents call, email, and fill out evaluation forms to say how much they enjoyed their tour. At the last Welcome Day on April 2, when one tour finished, the visitors clapped and cheered so loudly they caused a scene,” said Nancy Stricklin, an admissions adviser and supervisor of the URI tour guide program for the past 15 years. “The tour guides help visitors understand the whole URI experience.”
“I like URI and I want to show other potential students the school so maybe they will like it and want to come here too,” said Dan Robbins, a junior civil engineering major from Rochester, N.H. who is finishing his second year as a tour guide. “I like socializing and meeting people from all over the country,” he added. “Plus, I get great exercise from walking around campus for one-and-a-half hours.”
URI’s 65 tour guides represent a diverse body of sophomores, juniors, and seniors with different majors interests, and activities.”
Kathleen Anderson, a sophomore who is a human development and family studies major agrees. “I love meeting new and interesting people,” said the West Haven, Conn. resident.
Visitors who take campus tours are not just prospective students who want to look at the school for admission purposes. Tours are also designed for alumni who want to see how the campus is changing; high school guidance counselors and teachers who want information for their students; and elementary and middle school children who want to see what a university is like.
No matter who is visiting, the tour route takes visitors all over the campus. Visitors see classrooms, the library, a dining hall, and a sample set-up room in Browning Hall. They also visit the athletic facilities including the Mackal Field House and Tootell Aquatics Center. While the route is always the same, every tour is different depending on the tour guide’s personality and experiences.
Thousands of prospective students and their families visit campus and take tours during the University’s Welcome Days offered during the fall and spring semesters. “I think it’s awesome,” said Robbins. “It is very important to give potential students a student perspective of the University because we can relate to them.”
Stricklin makes sure the tour guides are well trained about ongoing University events, information, and policies. “We have a responsibility to be accurate in the information we present our visitors,” she said. “I encourage them to be honest and candid at all times.”
The training is ongoing with extensive workshops at the beginning of each semester and additional information sessions during monthly meetings.
Future tour guides are selected at the end of the spring semester. This year, more than 80 students applied for 30 positions.
Tours leave from the Information Desk at the Memorial Union weekdays at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and at 12:30 p.m. from Newman Hall, following a noon Information Session with admissions advisors. On Saturdays, tours leave from the Memorial Union Information Desk at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. There are no tours during University scheduled breaks or exam periods.
For an up-to-date schedule, including the summer tour schedule, please visit the URI Admissions Office website at http://www.uri.edu/admissions/visiting.html or call 401-874-7100.
University of Rhode Island tour guide Erin Hodne, a junior art major from Pearl River, NY leads a group of prospective students and families on a tour of the Kingston campus. URI News Bureau Photo by Michael Salerno.